Football District Championship Showdowns | Sports


TC Central vs. Bay City Western

RECORDS: Traverse City Central (9-1, No. 3); Bay City Western (8-2, No. 10)

IF: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Thirlby Field

SERIES: Trojans lead the Bay City Western 8-3

LAST MEETING: Central knocked out Western 44-0 in week one of the 2018 season.

LAST PLAYOFF MEETING: Trojans won the district semi-finals in 2012 with 48:47.


BACKGROUND: The Trojans had a convincing 49-7 win over Saginaw Heritage last Friday. Bay City Western played to the limit in its district semi-finals to score a 25-23 win over the Midland Dow on a 35-yard field goal through the rain with eight seconds to go. While history doesn’t affect Friday’s result, the Trojans have had some success against Westerns lately, winning five in a row after losing 26:13 in the 2008 district semi-finals. The Trojans carried out shutouts against Westerns to open the 2017, 2017 and 2018 seasons. Central made a long way to the state championship semi-finals last season, the biggest post-season success the program has seen since the 1988 championship season. The Trojans are winners of nine in a row and have the momentum of a bullet train thanks to the standout play of Josh Burnham, Reed Seabase, Carson Bourdo, Josh Klug and Dante Williams. Western has two playoff wins in the last two seasons. Western hasn’t won a district since 2005.

HOLDER BITS: Caledonia (9-1, No. 4) or Muskegon Mona Shores (8-2, No. 6) are waiting for the winner of Central and Western. A rematch in the semifinals between Central and Mona Shores is possible. Mona Shores ended Central’s 43-30 season last year.


TC St. Francis vs. McBain

RECORDS: Traverse City St. Francis (10-0, No. 1); McBain (7-3, not ranked)

IF: Saturday, 1 p.m.

WHERE: Thirlby Field

SERIES: Francis leads 6-1

LAST MEETING: St. Francis defeated McBain in the 2019 district championship game 14-7. In the last non-playoff neck-and-neck race, the Glads knocked out the Ramblers 35-0 in the second week of the 2015 regular season.


BACKGROUND: The senior gladiators have plans to return to Ford Field after losing a 2020 state championship win. But St. Francis still has to make this journey one game at a time, and every game is now a must-win. The Glads opened the playoffs with a 30-point win over Harrison, 64-34. St. Francis’ dynamic offensive, led by quarterback Charlie Peterson, combined with a defense that doesn’t allow for much, has given the Glads three wins this season against the top 10 teams – Grayling, Boyne City and Kingsley. McBain picked up his lumps early in the season, losing 54-8 to Kingsley in the first week and 33-14 to Beal City in the second week. But the Ramblers bounced back in a big way, winning seven of their last eight, and then avenging their only loss in that period – 40-12 to Evart – with a 42-7 win over Wildcats last week.

HOLDER BITS: St. Francis could see another team from northern Michigan in the regional semifinals. Charlevoix (8-1) celebrates a 50-8 win against Mancelona and faces Ishpeming Westwood in the other D7 district championship game on Saturday, who sent East Jordan home with a 44-6 final.


Charlevoix vs. Ishpeming Westwood

RECORDS: Charlevoix (8-1, not ranked); Ishpeming Westwood (9-1, No. 8)

IF: Saturday, 1 p.m.

WHERE: Westwood High School

SERIES: The Rayders and Patriots have never met.


BACKGROUND: Charlevoix’s only flaw of the season is a 27-8 week 2 loss to Boyne City, who is sixth in Division 6 and which also happens to be battling for a district title this week. The Rayders have rattled seven Ws in a row since then. Charlevoix made it to the district title game in the last two seasons, but the Rayders got stuck. Charlevoix defeated Mancelona 50-8 in the district semi-finals, and Ishpeming Westwood beat East Jordan 44-6. The Patriots are on the move and have their own winning streak of seven games in which they have scored almost 300 points (296). The Patriot defense is quite steadfast, allowing eight points or less in eight of their nine wins – including three shutouts. Ishpeming Westwood has never won a district title in program history.

HOLDER BITS: Unbeaten and No. 1 in Traverse City St. Francis, McBain plays in the other county final, which hosts a regional semi-final game between the winners of those two games.


Kingsley vs. Clare

RECORDS: Kingsley (9-1, No. 7); Clare (7-3, not ranked)

IF: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Rodes field

SERIES: The deer and pioneers will play against each other for the first time on Friday.


BACKGROUND: The Stags ruled the Battle of the Kings, defeating the Kingsford Flivvers 28-10 last week, while Clare was previously undefeated and No. 8 Gladwin 32-12 upset. Kingsley is desperate to win after missing Reed City in the county championship game last year due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the players and coaching staff. The Deer were standing 8-0 at this point, mowing down their opponents on what appeared to be a clear path to Detroit. The Kingsley Defense only allowed 100 points all season, 38 of which ended up in the Stags’ only loss of the season – a 38-30 final against top-placed Traverse City St. Francis of Division 7. Clare was one that season Mystery. The Pioneers won four games in a row earlier in the season, allowing only 19 total points, but then conceding 88 points in two straight defeats before straightening the ship. Clare has only won one district title (2012) in the past 10 seasons.

HOLDER BITS: Frankenmuth (10-0, No. 2) plays against Saginaw Swan Valley (6-4) with a foray into the D7 regional semi-final on the line. The winner will receive either Kingsley or Clare.


Cadillac vs. Whitehall

RECORDS: Cadillac (8-2, No. 7); Whitehall (8-2, No. 9)

IF: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Veterans memorial stadium

SERIES: The Vikings will meet the Vikings on the grate for the first time on Friday.


BACKGROUND: Who will win this game? Well, the safe money rests with the Vikings – the mascot for Cadillac and Whitehall. Cadillac defeated Fruitport 42-35 and Whitehall doubled Spart 40-20 in the district semifinals. Cadillac made it to Ford Field last season, where they lost 13-0 to Detroit Country Day. A win on Friday would go a long way towards guaranteeing another appearance at the state championship and also achieving three district titles in a row – an achievement that the program has yet to achieve. Whitehall is a dangerous team that can put 60 points on the board and can’t give up a single one. His defense recently hunched over after closing four times in a row from week three to week six. Whitehall lost his regular season finale 38:28 against Reed City (9: 1), which is fifth in Division 6 and is playing for a district title on Friday.

HOLDER BITS: One of the Vikings will face Hudsonville winner Unity Christian (10-0, No. 3) and the unclassified Grand Rapids Christian (7-3) in the regional semifinals.


Boyne City vs. Standish-Sterling

RECORDS: Boyne City (9-1, No. 6); Standish Sterling (8-2, unrated)

IF: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Standish-Sterling Central High School

SERIES: The Ramblers and Panthers meet for the first time on Friday.

ONLINE RADIO: Rambler Sports Network;

BACKGROUND: Boyne City proved the Ramblers can win tight games with their 19:18 win over Grayling last week. In this matchup against the No. 10 Vikings, Boyne City was almost 35 points ahead. The Ramblers are pursuing their first district title since winning consecutive championships in 2014 and 2015. Boyne’s only defeat was Division 7 No. 1 Traverse City St. Francis but the Ramblers recovered quickly thanks to an explosive offense and an impressive defense combined with good game planning that can adapt to what lies ahead. Standish-Sterling hadn’t set a win record since 2013, when the Panthers went 9-2 and won a district title.

HOLDER BITS: The winner of that game will see either Negaunee (8-2, # 10) or Unranked Calumet (8-2) in the regional semi-finals.


Suttons Bay vs. Inland Lakes

RECORDS: Suttons Bay (10-0, No. 4); Inland lakes (10-0, No. 9)

IF: Friday, 7 p.m.

WHERE: Suttons Bay High School

SERIES: Inland lakes leads 3-2

LAST MEETING: Suttons Bay won the quarterfinals in 2002 45:12. The only other times the two teams played were in 1968, 1970 and 1971.

BACKGROUND: Inland Lakes comes on Friday with a thirst that has not been quenched for a year. The Bulldogs had to give up their state semi-final game against Suttons Bay last year because of a COVID-19 outbreak at school. The Northman hope Inland Lakes is still thirsty at the end of the four quarters on Friday. Suttons Bay is a monster on either side of the ball. The Northmen offensive averages 46 points per game, and the defense allows less than nine points per fight. The Norse is prone to big games considering last week’s 49-8 win over Mesick included scoring games of 50, 78, 88 and 70 yards. The frenzied skills of Hugh Periard and Shawn Bramer are the fuel that powers the Suttons Bay engine. The Northmen are hoping for a third straight appearance in the state championship game and would prefer a better result than the previous two. Inland Lakes has scored some key points this season – including 71 in week one, 75 in week two, and 86 in week three. The Bulldogs only switched to eight-player soccer last year after spending the last four seasons in the Legacy Division of the Northern Michigan Football Conference.

HOLDER BITS: The winner of that game will play either Rudyard or Newberry in the semi-finals of the State Championship on November 13th. Both Rudyard and Newberry are unranked, despite Newberry getting a vote in the latest AP poll.

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